IIOJK in focus

Gujjar-Bakerwals threaten agitation against govt’s plan to include ‘Non-Tribals’ in ST list

Srinagar: The Gujjar and Bakerwal tribal communities in occupied Jammu and Kashmir have threatened to launch a stir against the proposed move by the Indian government to include communities like Paharis in the list of Schedule Tribe (ST), a move that the former have been opposing vehemently.

Thousands from the two communities of Gujjars and Bakarwals held a grand Gojri jirga in Srinagar city, a first such event in decades that brought members from across the region together.

The tribal communities made a series of demands during the day-long programme in which top leaders, activists and scholars from the community addressed the members. The communities opposed giving ST status to what they termed as “upper-caste” non-tribals, proper implementation of Forest Rights Act (FRA) and the withdrawal of Forest Conservation Act (FCA) and J&K ST Amendment Bill-2023.

Talib Hussain, a prominent activist from the Gujjar community lashed out at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government stating that the community is ready to fight on all fronts against the proposed move.

“If the government gives ST status to upper caste Brahmin, Gupta, Rajput, Mahajan, Syed and Mirza, we will not only be fighting politically but we will also hit the streets,” he told media men.

Block Development Council (BDC) member from Doda’s Kahara village Fathima Farooq told reporters that it was a matter of the community’s future and if the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government had made a decision, we have also decided to resist it.

The jirga was also attended by Malook Nagar, the Member of Parliament from Uttar Pradesh’s Bijnor, who extended support to the locals.

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